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K Street Files: Lobbyists Prepare for Health Care Redux

Thought all that health care lobbying wrapped up last year? Apparently not.

Since the House is set to vote this week on a repeal of last year’s law, groups that lobbied for or against the health care overhaul have sprung back into action, despite the fact that the effort to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act isn’t likely to go beyond the House.

Brian Darling, director of government relations for the Heritage Foundation, said that his group will release a “road map to dismantle Obamacare soon after the House vote.”

“We’ve been thinking about it quite a bit,” he added. Organizations on both sides, he noted, have mobilized. “Some of the grass roots are getting fired up and trying to generate calls into the House.”

AARP, which represents seniors, dispatched a missive to House leaders Tuesday, saying a repeal would hurt older Americans.

“Through outreach and conversations with AARP members and other Americans, as well as information reflected in public polling, we have learned that older Americans and their families — while still unclear on many aspects of the new law — support key provisions of the ACA,” wrote AARP CEO Barry Rand in the letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network also called on its grass-roots supporters to get in touch with Members and ask them to vote against the repeal. “Repeal of the law without a meaningful alternative that includes critical patient protections would resurrect the broken ‘sick care’ system that denied lifesaving care to people with cancer and their families,” John Seffrin, CEO of the Cancer Action Network, said in a statement.

On the other side, retailers and business groups, including the National Retail Federation, which opposed the reform bill last year, publicly urged Members to repeal the law.

GOP Outreach

The bipartisan Bockorny Group is bolstering its Republican bench. The shop has nabbed Erich Mische, former chief of staff to ex-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), and Blair Larkins, an aide to Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

“Our clients will benefit from both their knowledge of Capitol Hill and their insight into its inner-workings,” the firm’s CEO David Bockorny said in a statement.

Mische specializes in health care, defense, homeland security, energy and trade issues. Larkins will focus on coordinating the firm’s outreach to the 87 new GOP Members of Congress.

K Street Moves

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey will set up shop in the private sector at the law and lobbying firm Venable.

Ivey, whose Capitol Hill career included a stint as chief counsel for former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), will be a partner in Venable’s white collar and government investigations practices. Ivey began his career as a legislative assistant to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.

• The Fritts Group has picked up Melinda Lewis, who was director of government relations for Sprint Nextel. The Fritts Group is the firm of Eddie Fritts, the longtime former head of the National Association of Broadcasters.

Before joining Sprint Nextel in 2006, Lewis was a lobbyist for NAB and worked in outreach for the office of the Commissioner of Baseball.

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